Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dear Two Month Ages & Stages Questionnaire.

Dear Two Month Ages & Stages Questionnaire (ASQ),

A few days ago I had the pleasure of encountering you for the first time with my second child and I have uncovered a potential scoring issue that he will face on every future ASQ regardless of age.

You, and your perfect little circles, are going to judge him erroneously. This is not unique to him, but rather, an unfair burden that every second child has to shoulder.

I took you from the nurse and headed to the waiting room, ready for your ridiculous questions, but you surprised me. You see, your questions weren't ridiculous. They were REALLY hard! Maybe I was handed the questionnaire intended for children with parents who are rocket scientists, which I'm flattered over, mind you, but I don't think said rocket scientists could fill in these blanks:

Is your baby's hand usually tightly closed when he's awake?
Yikes! When my baby is awake, I'm not looking at his hand. I'm looking at my 2-year-old making sure he is not throwing toy cars at the baby's wide-open eyes. I'm looking at the piles of laundry all around me wondering who will do them. I'm looking at the empty pantry and then quickly averting my gaze to take-out menus. His hand? No, not in the mix, but I chose "Yes" lest you think I am not paying attention.

Does your baby hold his hand open when he is awake?
Uh-oh. Are you messing with me ASQ? Is it supposed to be closed or open!? After the last question I don't know which one is right! Oh God. Now I'm sweating. I closed my eyes and chose "Yes" figuring one of the two open-hand questions would be right.

When you put a toy in your baby's hand, does he grasp it in his hand briefly.
Welllll, I've never tried. You see, my two-year-old intercepts all toys headed toward the baby and hides them in his toy box like a damn squirrel prepping for winter. Since they're brothers, and my eldest had no problem with this skill, I assume the baby can do it, too. I chose "Sometimes."

Does your baby chuckle softly?
Hmmmmm. I think he does, but he caught a cough from his brother after his future best friend bent down in front of his face and coughed directly on him. I'm sure if he wasn't wheezing and hacking like a three-pack-a-day smoker, he would. The answer is "Yes."

Now, the rest of the questions, I cannot hope to recall. I think you asked if he is eating steak with a fork and knife and if he's borrowed the car yet for a quick trip to Target. Since you ask, I assume he should be and answered "Yes" but honestly cannot recall if either of these have taken place.

So, ASQ, we have a serious issue on our hands. Millions of second children are being judged on responses from parents who have used the "fill in 'C' on the Scan-tron when you don't know the answer" strategy from their high school years. Your results are in no way accurate.

Don't despair. I have a solution.

Let's simplify. After the first child, parents are lucky to find time to brush their hair. Staring down at the second child, in awe of his or her amazing accomplishments, slips down on the list of priorities and calling this out on a 27 point questionnaire makes everyone feel a bit sheepish.

So, let's dumb it down to one very important, and very easy, question:

Is your child alive?

That's about all we can tell you, anyway. Don't make us pretend we know more.

Thanks so much for listening. Should you like my suggestion enough to implement it and want to cite me in the credits, you know where to fine me.